Speaking at the Seventh Conference of Judges, Victor Yushchenko commissioned the Cabinet to implement judicial reforms, the President'spress office informed.

The Head of State ordered the government to introduce changes in the Law on the Status of Judges to raise their salaries and provide budget funds to solvetheir housing problems. Yushchenko believes these measures will help make this profession prestigious again.

“A judge must be independent and impartial,” he said.

The President added that next year’s budget provided for UAH 738 million to raise judges’ salaries. After such a considerable increase an average judge will be paid UAH 3.800 per month ($ 750).

The Head of State also commissioned the cabinet toformulate a special five-year-program to construct typical courts consisting of three isolated units for judges, sessions and detainees, each offering an entrance to a trial hall.

“Justice Palaces should be built in each regional center,” he said.

Yushchenko also asked the cabinet to elaborate a program to computerize the judicial system. That should make the distribution of cases accidental and ensure transparency of procedural documents.

Speaking about mechanisms to employ well-trained and educated judges, the Head of State stressed that the judicial system “really needs self-purification to get rid of the people that are inadequate to their positions.” He said qualification commissions should be formed in all regions while judges should only temporarily perform their duties at these bodies.

Heads of Courts of Appeal should be given the right to punish certain judges for disciplinary violations. The Supreme Council of Justice needs an inspection body to receive and consider civilian complains.

Yushchenko commissioned the cabinet to introduce relevant bills to Verkhovna Rada.

Summing up his speech, the President said this was “a basic reform of the transitional period” and “a key challenge for government and society,”

“Judges must be arbiters that balance interests of the state and the people,” he stressed.

The President also informed those present that he planned to discuss these judicial reforms at an NSDCU meeting.


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